I groan when I’m asked “Are you ready for Christmas?” It seems to get earlier and earlier each year.

However, Christmas is God’s preparation to meet us. No-one looked forward to the first Christmas more than God. For all eternity He set his heart and mind to coming, dwelling, loving, revealing himself and redeeming humankind at Christmas. Nothing would have stopped him.

The detail of God’s preparation, patient waiting and the oversight of all the characters makes for an unforgettable Christmas story. It unfolds with majesty and purpose. It’s the story that has defined history.

The shepherds were instructed to hurry to meet the baby Jesus. The hills of Bethlehem were where sacrificial lambs for Jerusalem’s Temple were kept, so it is fitting that Jesus, who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, is first seen by those shepherds. Ironically shepherds were social outcasts, considered the lowest of the low, living with animals which made them unclean, yet God first welcomes those thought to be unclean and unworthy to come to Him.

The only other guests were the wise men – the noble, scholarly and kingly ones. Those able to bring high-end gifts and to travel more than five hundred miles, A-list people, talented and able to communicate. God isn’t interested in human status – he came to high born and low-level strugglers alike. All were welcome to the birth of his son then, and all are invited to new life through His son now! All are welcome.

Simply put, you are welcome. Christ invites you to know his meaning, beauty and purpose this Christmas. Matthew 2 verse 10 tells us that those first wise Christmas worshippers “rejoiced with very great joy”. This is my prayer and our wish for you this year. However pressured or prepared you are, might you welcome Jesus this Christmas, again or for the first time? He welcomes you and so do we.

*part of our parish-wide CONTACT this Christmas